tv Inside Washington PBS February 4, 2012 2:00am-2:30am EST
>> production assistance for "inside washington" was provided by allbritton communications and politico, reporting on the legislative, executive, and political arena. >> thank you tonight for this great victory. >> this week on "inside washington," mitt romney scores and impressive win in florida and walks directly into sound bite hell. >> i am not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. >> governor romney, go out and get them. >> we will be in camp but as the nominee in august.
>> the politics of breast cancer. >> the scurrilous accusations are profoundly hurtful. >> and the possibility of an early exit from afghanistan. >> why would you go to the people you are fighting with and tell them the date you pull out your troops? it makes absolutely no sense. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> after taking a shellacking from newt gingrich in south carolina, mitt romney was on a roll again in florida. he want women voters, moderate voters, catholic voters, hispanic voters, voters it wanted somebody who could beat barack obama in november. then he talked to cnn's soledad o'brien.
>> i am in this race because i care about americans. i'm not concerned about the very poor, they have a safety net. i'm not concerned about the very rich, they are fine. >> romney goes on in that interview to define the safety net for the poor, which includes food stamps, and vouchers. but the damage was already done. the line was all over the 24- hour news cycle and it has not stopped. mark, is there a cure for political foot-in-mouth disease? >> well, it is, problem for gov. romney because it plays into the perception of him already it as a detached, richman perhaps not familiar with the struggles of a particularly people on the lower end. 20 million americans living in households, 1/2 of the poverty level. $11,000 a year for family of at
four. talk about the safety net taking care of those people. i don't know if anybody wants to live on the safety net. >> charles, can romney a shrug it off? >> well, i think, as mark says, it is the accumulation. it feeds into the existing idea for prison, and this feeds into other examples, like when he you $10,000," or if you of these were he placed the-- where he placed the patrician. it happened to george bush, a senior, when he was at the checkout counter. this is a guy who is a businessman from politics is a second language, and he does not speak it that well. >> evan? >> as somebody who blurts stuff
out, i am sensitive when people say stupid things but he does it often enough. if you want to have a beer with the guy is an important test for politics. george bush in 2004, because people wanted it with him more than kerry. >> nina? >> it does feed into the spirit that, and yet, you have to say, the romney campaign is so magnificently discipline that the one undiscipline, and blowing what he has done for a year -- i am caught between admiration and fascination with the undisciplined moment. >> he is not thinking about the
public listening to this. >> he is trying to identify with the middle-class. it has become the coveted constituency of both parties. it is not what you do for the rich, is what you do for the middle-class. the antidote to this problem that governor romney had was his endorsement yesterday by a billionaire. he is a multi millionaire, he got endorsed by a billionaire -- >> who likes to fire people! >> so donald trump solidified the billionaire vote for romney. >> look, romney's problem is that he is late to his ideology. if you are conservative, you don't want to play on the grounds of liberals, which is
class distinctions and, if you like, pitting one class against another. the conservative idea of economics, the moral defense of the free-market, is that it helps everybody. if you have economic expansion, it will increase creation of jobs and allow people to rise. conservatives are the ones who argue that if you take away the fetters, it will help everybody, including tehhe poor. he accepted the premise of liberals that what you do with the poor is stick them in a safety net and leave them there. he is not fluent yet in the ideology of conservatism. >> mark mckinnon, a former bush and mccain adviser, says that romney is reinforcing the image of the republican party, out of touch, and that is why he is having problems with independent voters. how does he get past that?
>> he is maladroit, but there is an inner toughness to him. his family history has been constant persecution. his family has always been ground down, run out of town, and each time they come back. that is the way he is paid he sees an expanding, but he is pretty tough. >> you just have to look at the way he came back in south carolina -- from south carolina. it reminds me in a way of clinton. you cannot not this guy out. he has inner toughness. >> he can take a bunch. >> he showed he could take a punch by coming back in florida from south carolina, but i guess all moo -- it is all moot. 8.9% unemployment at the end of this year. if that is the case, they will
forget the gaffes of mitt romney. >> another problem is that he has defined the reason he should be president is biography -- i'm a businessman, i know how to create jobs, hire me. he doesn't have a policy. i mean, he has them, but he doesn't speak about it. yes of a plan about tax reform and entitlement reform which he talked about but never again. >> tell me how you are going to fix it. ok. >> i really believe that we should care about the very poor, unlike governor romney. [laughter] but i believe we should care differently than barack obama. governor romney and barack obama believe that a "safety net" is all hte poor need.
what they need is a trampoline to spring them up. [applause] >> will the south b newt gingrich's lifeline, charles? >> lifeline? his island. he doesn't have anywhere else to go. i think, in a wonderful form, the night he has the speech after the shellacking in florida lost bite 16 points, and his speech about -- is about the executive order is he would sign it after his inauguration. it was charmingly delusional. you have to admire a guy who is so dogged and sure of himself. he ain't gonna leave. this is ahab on all this and he
is after the great white. he is going after mitt on a personal level. >> i'm not sure that is true. if you watch gingrich over time, when he gets shellacked by the huge negative, as he did in iowa, and it is 5-2-1 with the ads and the super pac and the romney money and he runs only one ad that is positive, romney -- he is enraged by this treaty is beside himself with -- he is enraged by this. he is beside himself with fury. and then reality sets in and pulls itself together to talk about what he wants to do again. at some point, i suspect reality will sink in, and it may be april or something like that. predicting newt gingrich is dangerous. >>newt's problem is that he has
a very mixed message in florida. i am the only guy tough enough, smart enough, quick enough to take on barack obama. in the meanwhile, i am going to whine about mitt romney, who is obviously not qualified to be president and is running this mean-spirited campaign against me. you cannot be the tough guy who is going to take on obama and at the same time kind of complaining to the jury about the treatment you're getting . in a strange way he is a gift for romney. in his a vendetta, he is going to make romney look like the soul of moderation, the grown- up, the middle of the road, which will help him in november. >> the labor department says the unemployment dropped to 8.3%, the lowest in three years. that looks good for obama. on the other hand, i pick up "the washington post" on friday, and i see "israel will hit
iran sue." >> gingrich will be offered on- site show by fall. unemployment, let go -- will it go down or up? the real wild card is whether israel bombs iran, and how the iranians is on, how the united states respond to that -- all this other stuff is going to be child's play. >> making any bets, charles? >> i think it's fairly certain that the israelis are going to attack, or you would not have a deliberately coming this week, secretary of defense for david ignatius of "the post," saying that there is a high likelihood that israel is one to attack,
and even specified when, in three months. unless there that are indications from israelis that they are going to do this, even if they're getting signals from the united states not to. >> is the israeli technician that there is the presidential election in november? >> now, i think the calculation is what ignatius reported panetta said, that iran is about to enter the zone of immunity. the trigger is not the assumption that iran now has the know-how to make the bomb hit that is later down the road. what comes earlier is when iran has put enough uranium, completely untouchable, protected sites, like the mountain where you cannot touch it, meaning that at that point, iran has the wherewithal, the facilities, the materials where
it can build a bomb and never be attacked again. israel believes it is approaching the point of community and it will attack. >> mark? >> i do not know why secretary panetta revealed this. i'm just trying to understand. >> to stop them. >> he is trying to stop them. it is urgent. >> and that is the reason he chose it? >> absolutely. we have got these economic sanctions that, amazingly, seem to be working, and there seems to be a fair amount of unity in squeezing the iranians, and just one is working, this blows the sky. >> i read piece in "the new york times magazine" on sunday by an israeli journalist, and he talked to the outgoing head of mossad who thinks that this is not a good idea at this time.
why our intelligence people opposed to this? >> they are not sure they can find things to destroy it. the deeper question here is, logically and rationally, if israel attacks iraq, iran will just kind of take it and they will not close the strait of hormuz, because that will bring in the united states and be the beginning of the end. that is assuming that the iranians will be of logically and rationally. -- behave logically and rationally. anybody who buys read history books -- anybody who reads the history book knows that your opponents often behave rationally -- irrationally. if it was just a contained israel strikes iran, iran launched missiles into israel, not great, but the recent the united states opposes this is they fear the fallout.
war has a way of unintended consequences, all wars. what is it going to do to the economy of europe, the united states? terrorism. testified just a week that iranians are thinking about operating inside the united states. >> iranian oil has already been cut off. the europeans are not importing it . saudis are determined to see the iranian nuclear program wiped out. the saudis have pledged replacement for any iran oil. if it was just iranian oil, it would not have any affect the question is do they close the strait of hormuz, which, as evan says, is a suicidal. if you kill a single american, he will bring the americans and europe into the war.
evan is right, the national iranian response would be to attack israel and nobody else. >> we also have to note that even if they can succeed, at the chances of slowing down the iranians a between one and three years. it passed be part of the calculus. that is one of the reasons that the united states at the moment things is not worth it, the israelis appear to think it is. >> defense minister and who brought -- ehud barak -- " whoever says 'later' may find out later it is too late." >> i understand that. i just wonder if the united states is an independent actor, finds it produce a to israel -- it prudent to say to israel no
or not. quite frankly, we are in a presidential year where governor romney and it certainly speaker gingrich have been, if anything, 110% in favor of an aggressive israeli policy and critical of the administration. >> romney and gingrich are not in office. the israeli thinking -- the israelis could suffer thousands of casualties if lebanon or hezbollah attacks. israelis know all the rest and how short term the advantage would be. the reason they are thinking about this is that for israelis, but the weeks before the 1967 war, israel was abandoned by the whole world. israel had to do preemptive attack.
it feels as isolated as back then and will take the same risk. >> politics of birth control and breast cancer. >> this is a violation of the basic rights of conscience. >> this mandate violates our constitution. >> that is house speaker boehner and a cardinal of washington. the obama administration policy requires all employees, including catholic employees, to pay for contraceptive is regardless of the catholic teaching on this issue. the president of the catholic health association supported the president on the health care law. now his critics say that people like that have been hung out to dry. >> this is a dissing, in common parlance, of catholics. i have not noticed dozens of people lined up to provide services for the poor and left out and left behind. that is what catholic charities have done, that is what catholic
schools do in big cities. the idea that somehow they are not -- they aren't in it for the bucks. it is their mandate by their religion. i don't understand barack obama on this and i think it is politically -- catholics have voted on the winning side of every election. >> is it relevant or irrelevant that the vast majority of catholics practice, a contraception in violation of this teaching? >> it is irrelevant -- >> factually, this has been the law since 2000. there's an eeoc ruling. 28 states have at laws like this. there is a good argument being made by the catholic church, but if you take it out of the area of contraceptives -- suppose you had a preschool that would not do it immunization because it
would not allow or inshore for immunizations. we are talking about insurance. the board of health would be there. it is a tricky question and there are arguments to be made on both sides. >> in a decision is a matter of public safety, birth control is not. as mark indicated, the catholic church is not only a church. it has outreach and social services and does good works. liberals say ok, in the church you can appoint anybody you want and we will leave you alone, but when you step out into society, you have to be under our heels and you have to provide a morning-after pill, which for a catholic in the hierarchy in the church, is an abomination. otherwise you are cut off. that is liberal secular power against -- secular arrogance.
>> the susan g. komen foundation says it is cutting funding for planned parenthood because it is the subject of a federal investigation by congress. planned parenthood says that the foundation gave to political bullying. which is it? >> there is a huge internet strong -- >> the mayor of new york has donated thousands of dollars. >> social networking will drive back the komen foundation -- >> if you live in the medical world, which i do because i'm married to a doctor, the komen foundation is much more controversial for positions than people realize. this will put a light on that and it'll be a real problem for the foundation. >> we have a doctor on the panel. >> look, i am sympathetic to both sides. if you have a rule of regulation
that says to an institution in litigation, perhaps -- that says you cannot donate to institution in litigation, perhaps. i'm not sure if that is an excuse or reason. >> i don't know on this one, but the komen foundation has been pervasively successful in reaching into every athletic event, every community. everytime you turn around, traffic is interrupted by them. they are a phenomenal, colossal institution. i would want to take them on. -- wouldn't want to take them wanteon. >> the end of the afghanistan, role one year early? >> we got osama bin laden. >> was a card saying it is time to transition away from the -- mission in wesley clark saying it is time to transition away from the mission in afghanistan.
david petraeus, head of the cia, says that the comment by leon panetta is over-analyze. >> i think we are getting out early, the obama administration seems determined to do it. the taliban thinks they are winning. they don't think and they are being defeated. >> it gave mitt romney a big club this week. >> we are not going to leave with a "mission accomplished" banner. i'm just beginning to wonder now, if we are leaving in 2013, whose son, brother, wife is going to be the last to die in this withdrawal? i don't see the policy objective right now? >> we will never know if you pour the resources of iraq into afghanistan we could have pulled one and left, but we're learning
a lesson every other great power has learned since the early days. >> graves of young americans -- >> mark's point is important on that. "the washington post's" editorial ended on that said why are we having our soldiers dying now? clearly, withdrawing next year, speaking of releasing the worst of the worst taliban in guantanamo as a sweetener, we obviously at ended in afghanistan. if you are, you ask the john kerry question from the vietnam war -- who will be the last american to die for a mistake? if this is a mistake, as obama appears to included, he should withdraw now have the courage to make that case to the american people. >> if it was a mistake, why did he agree to the surge? >> i think he changed his mind.
>> they are building up the afghan security forces. it is not like there is no reason for american soldiers to be there. >> but the original idea is that it would take until 2014. what is it that accelerated the timetable that we are doing so well that we can leave? electioneering. >> can we be candid? afghanistan is a corrupt, non- functioning government. karzai is the mayor of kabul, that is a. >> you get the last word. see you next week.